ment, the “total cost of ownership of deploying small cells at this density would be four to six times higher than for LTE macro-cell deploy- ment. Unless costs fall dramatically, wireless operators will need to rethink their approach to deploy- ing 5G in these bands and carefully review their business case.” The real-time capability and

just how much volume of data is transmitted at any particular time, that is somewhat constrained. 5G is critical when it comes to providing Wi-Fi service onboard school buses. While it is slowly infusing into some bus fleets, such capability will have a place in the connected yellow school bus of the future. The real unknown mitigating

factor to fast adoption, though, may be whether some new scientific study from a prestigious university reports a major health problem that is caused by 5G cell towers. That could take the shape of something like the sudden spike in cases of brain cancer that is being gradually connected to heavy cell phone use. But for now, and into the future, cost and service charges to have 5G capability, and therefore the oppor- tunity to capitalize on the merits of robust remote monitoring, operating a diagnostics platform will likely be de- layed—until the economics of 5G align with what the consumers of it, namely school districts, can afford to pay.

Where Do We Go from Here? When it comes to remote mon-

itoring and diagnostics for school buses, we’re almost there. Not- withstanding the challenges, aging fleets and problems found in school districts like those in South Carolina, Oklahoma City and Commack, New York, could have possibly been prevented with a robust technology platform. It ap- pears the value of that is becoming more apparent. In the near term, our digital fabric

will progress, and incrementally be used to manage nearly half a million

Your Transportation Solution 29

school buses throughout the U.S. It is on its way. The full engagement of big data, IoT, 5G, hardware and software platforms, and all that goes with all of it, is coming. It will appear in a way that will save time, money, and most importantly, lives, in the critical task of transporting our nation’s pupils. ●

Read McKinsey Group’s February 2018, “Are you Ready for 5G?” at

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